The likelihood of erectile dysfunction in older men is quite high. It could result after the impairment of the erection function due to the lack of blood in the reproductive organs. Erectile dysfunction in younger males is more likely to occur due to psychological factors like stress, anxiety, depression, guilt, fear, etc. Whereas, in older men, physiological factors like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc. can affect the vascular mechanisms and in turn give rise to erectile difficulties.
Although erectile dysfunction cannot be directly linked to aging. Instead, it is a symptom of some underlying cause that affects the erection function. In older men, the cause is usually some disease that happens as men get older.
Aging and Erectile dysfunction
Usually, men experience the symptoms of erectile dysfunction around the age of 50 or so. After 50, men might be more prone to health conditions that gradually damage vascular function which is a major cause of erectile dysfunction. It depends on the severity of the underlying health condition. If it is managed well, the impotence symptoms will be mild otherwise impotence will become a chronic issue.
In younger males, the risk of erectile dysfunction is very low. Even if they face erection difficulties occasionally, it could be due to psychological factors such as stress, performance anxiety, depression, esteem issues, etc. Psychological factors are common among the young population owing to the kind of lifestyle they are leading.
Additionally, occasional problems of erectile dysfunction can also occur because of using some mind-altering substances like alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs such as marijuana, cannabis, etc. These drugs tend to interfere with sexual feelings and erection function and lead to impotence issues.
The possibility of erectile dysfunction due to physiological reasons cannot be denied among younger males. It could be an early sign of heart disease or cardiovascular dysfunction that needs to be treated, only then such individuals will be able to alleviate the impotence symptoms.
What Happens During Erectile Dysfunction?
ED or impotence results after the vascular damage which affects the ability to attain and sustain an erection suitable for sexual interaction. It mostly happens due to an inadequate supply of blood through the blood vessels of the penile. Poor blood flow results due to blockages in the blood vessels because of plaque formation which clogs the passages and narrows them.
Some enzymatic action is responsible for causing these blockages by suppressing nitric oxide production and release in the penile blood vessels. Which hinder blood circulation throughout the penile shaft and impairs erection function. Nitric oxide is a vital chemical that is released by the endothelial cells of the blood vessel walls. However, some enzymes negate their release and cause blockages in the blood vessels.
During this condition, the blood vessels fail to supply blood to the penile chambers. Which prevents men from achieving the natural erection for indulging in sexual activity despite attaining absolute sexual arousal.
Risk Factors of Erectile Dysfunction
By the time men reach their 70s, 70% of them are already affected by erectile dysfunction. Aging potentiates the risk of developing impotence, due to several reasons including excessive smoking, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disorder, cancer, stroke, and an inactive lifestyle. Some medications such as beta-blockers or antidepressants used for treating other health conditions can also lead to erectile dysfunction.
Psychogenic Reasons for Erectile Dysfunction
The brain is a major organ that initiates a series of physiological responses starting with sexual arousal and culminating in erections. It begins the process by sending impulses to the local nerves of the penile to cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax by initiating the release of nitric oxide by the endothelial cells of the penile blood vessels, which allows a supply of blood and filling the penile chambers.
Many psychological or psychogenic factors can interfere with sexual feelings and in turn disrupt arousal leading to erection failure. It can co-exist with physical factors that cause impotence and together these exacerbate the erection function.
Erection difficulties can give rise to emotional problems like stress and anxiety. Failure to get erections can make a person anxious and makes them worry about their sex life. Such individuals may experience performance anxiety which is a pattern of anxiety that in turn causes stress and low self-esteem. A mental healthcare expert or your doctor can help you address such troubles.
The onset of Erectile Dysfunction
In the early stages, you might experience some mild symptoms such as
- Difficulty getting an erection,
- Inability to sustain it,
- Lack of desire for sex,
- Loss of sensitivity in the penile despite sexual stimulation or arousal, and
- Absence of early morning erections also known as morning wood.
Failure to attain an erection might trigger some worry and anxiety as it might seem to be an emasculating concept for some men. This is why you should seek the help of your partner or a close friend that can understand your problem. Or it is even better to talk to a healthcare professional for help.
When In Doubt, Talk to Your Doctor
Rather than worrying about your inability to get or maintain erections, it is wise to seek professional help. A doctor can provide you with much-needed support in this regard. They perform some examinations for the identification of the exact reason for ED and help you alleviate the symptoms by treating them. Addressing the issue directly with your doctor can help gain clarity for bringing in satisfactory outcomes. As they can help you figure out the root cause by examining the complexity of your condition.
Based on the examination, your doctor will recommend some remedial solution for treating your underlying condition which will simultaneously help you alleviate the erection dysfunction symptoms. Hence, it is necessary to have an open and direct conversation with your physician for improving your erectile capabilities.